updated 04:30 am EDT, Mon July 8, 2013
Savings of up to $20 on selection of top-notch iOS apps
[Update: dedicated section showcasing free apps has been added] The fifth anniversary of the iOS App Store is just days away, but Apple is apparently preparing a gift for its users: a number of top apps that normally sell for $1 up to $20 have been reduced to free, including the $20 Traktor DJ for iPad, the $7 Infinity Blade II, the $5 Barefoot World Atlas, the $4 multiplayer Badland (which just won an Apple Design Award last month) and the $5 Day One journal/diary app, along with a few others. There is no indication how long the sale will last, but on Monday Apple added a dedicated section highlighting the anniversary celebration to its iOS App Store.
The company appears to be making a wide selection of apps across many types and price points available as part of the sale, from the DJing program Traktor DJ to the photo-captioning program Over (normally $2). Also discounted is Disney's popular puzzle game Where's My Water (normally $1), Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP (usually $5) and Tiny Wings (and Tiny Wings HD for the iPad, a $3 game normally). Apple has not yet made any formal announcement regarding either the rash of discounted apps or the anniversary of the store, which has gone from humble beginnings in 2008 to a multi-billion dollar annual industry that created an entirely new market -- and is one of the fastest-growing new industries in the history of the world.
The actual anniversary falls on Wednesday, July 10 -- when the App Store launched, it had only 500 apps. It now offers over 1.1 million third-party applications for the iOS platform, some 375,000 designed specifically for the iPad (the largest tablet app inventory by far) and creates an average of $8,700 per app in income annually from an average of 50,000 downloads (over a third of all apps on the app store are free; income made from in-app purchases are not counted towards the per-app average). Apple has paid out over $10 billion to developers over the past five years.
The store has seen explosive growth that increases at a nearly exponential rate: it managed just one billion downloads in its first full year, had increased that tenfold less than two years later in January 2011, and just passed the 50 billion this past May. Apple has estimated that its creation of the App Store has created hundreds of thousands of developer jobs.
Update: on Monday, the company acknowledged that the pricing reductions were in celebration of the App Store's fifth anniversary, and noted an additional title, How to Cook Everything as being reduced to free (normally $5). The section also contains a list of milestones achieved over the years, such as the fact that 10 million apps were purchased or downloaded in the first weekend.